Monday, April 11, 2011

Tahrir Square

The latest developments in Tahrir Square in Cairo are disappointing. Is it unexpected that the military that supported the democratic protests of February and March should turn authoritarian and repressive in turn? Human rights activists say that thousands have been tried so far in makeshift military courts. The assault on protesters on Friday, gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the trial of Hosni Mubarak, where the army surrounded the area, arbitrarily rounded up protesters and shot two people dead, defeats the hopes coalesced over months of agitation.

The central question that has remained in my mind since the start of the Jasmine Revolution: how are the people to protect themselves against the onslaught of the military? In the nation state as we know it now, the people have relinquished all rights of militarization to an organized collective called the 'armed forces' - what happens when the military use this disproportionate power over the people against them without restraint? - what happens when civilian protests are quashed by an indiscriminately shooting, beating, marauding army? With what weapons are we left?

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